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Do Shared Links Last Longer on Twitter or Facebook?

The social web has made everyone of us publishers. We create content everyday as we post to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.How Long Does Your Shared Link Last on Twitter and Facebook

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We upload photos to social media sharing sites such as Flickr and give them titles and descriptions.

The more adventurous, conscientious and creative content creators  produce videos and presentations that they download to YouTube and Slideshare.

Creating content that is worth reading and and inspiring enough to make it shareable takes time, effort and persistence.

Creating Content is the Easy Part

Once you have gone to the effort of producing, editing and publishing, then the real challenge is to market your inspiring writing and your creative multimedia creation to an expectant online audience.

Social networks provide the means and the leverage to distribute the information to a potential audience of 2 billion internet users.

Successful bloggers and social media aware companies understand the importance of marketing their on-line assets and ideas with updates to Twitter and Facebook with embedded links to drive traffic and clicks.

The Web is Crowded

If you have a large Twitter following and 1,000’s of Facebook fans then that will help your content marketing endeavours. Many of us tweet the post once and maybe share it also on Facebook with a singular news update with a link embedded and then expect traffic to come flooding in.

The cruel reality is that the web is crowded with hundreds of millions of blogs, websites and social media sites and the competition for attention in a sea of noise and buzz is so intense that most links drown before they are noticed.

Most clicks to your links in your tweets happen immediately after you have posted an update to Twitter. As time passes the retweets and Facebook likes and sharing of the links diminishes. As the link ages, the attention your links receive reduces.

Do Links Last Longer on Facebook, Twitter?

So how long is a link “alive” before people stop caring and does the type of content and where you shared it matter?

According to research by Bit.ly (the link shortening service used by millions of  users), after the initial post to Facebook the half life of a link was 70 minutes (the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak)

Rate of Clicks to a Link

A post to Twitter was shown to have a half life of only 5 minutes.

This shows the difference between Twitter (which is more a stream of links) and Facebook which is a destination where link life isconsiderably greater.

What was also noticeable is that the pattern of the clicks to a link essentially have the same pattern: a fast rise, and a more relaxed drop-off.

What is the Half Life of a YouTube Link?

In looking more closely at their 1,000 most popular links on Bit.ly they also discovered the following

  • Twitter has the average shortest half life at 2.8 hours
  • Facebook links half life averaged 3.2 hours
  • Direct sources (like email or IM links) came in at 3.4 hours
  • YouTube averaged 7.4 hours

So it appears that the type of content also matters with YouTube having the best link longevity.

Bit.ly half life of links

What wasn’t covered by the study was the social media site Slideshare (where you can upload and share your PowerPoint presentations), which  I would suggest would reveal link endurance that would exceed Twitter or Facebook and possibly YouTube


Creating your content is just the start, sharing it on social media channels will give it life and wings.

  1. Tweet your content more than once. Remember Twitter is a stream that flows past and doesn’t land in an inbox!
  2. Sharing only on Twitter is not optimum and reduces a links potential lifespan
  3. Sharing on Facebook is vital
  4. Creating content for YouTube is worth considering
  5. Don’t forget to share directly via email (building that email subscriber list is still important)

Do you share your content on Facebook and Twitter? Where else do you share, Google+, Digg and Stumbleupon?

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Image by Ravages

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